TBILISI, DFWatch — According to preliminary estimates by the Prison Ministry, about 6 500 prisoners will leave prison in Georgia soon.

Prison Minister Sozar Subari said this in an interview on one of the local TV channels Wednesday.

A day earlier, his deputy Giga Giorgadze said the law on amnesty may apply to 8 000 prisoners and 19 000 probationers. The unusually high number of prisoners in Georgia – 24 000 by the last count – is alarming to observers, and has been a source of criticism against the previous government.

During the election campaign, Georgian Dream promised that they would liberalize the crime policy, including introducing a law about amnesty. But the first draft of the law ran into trouble at the first hearing. It suggested that the amnesty would apply to all crimes, both severe and less severe. The former government criticized the draft, arguing that it would increase the crime level.

The minister says 2 000 prisoners will be released from prison on the first day of the amnesty law coming into force.

He said about 1 000 prisoners sentenced under two or three articles will have their sentence lifted for two of them.

“Charges from one article may remain, and it is possible some of them have already served their sentence for it,” he said. “There is a part of prisoners who will be released before serving term. If the system of summing up the sentences will be canceled then many people will get out of jail.”

The minister explains that the new draft amnesty bill was prepared after careful consideration to avoid an increased level of crime and not to endanger the public order.